AOL Buys Sphere For News Content Recommendations

April 15, 2008

12:10 pm

My first day working at AOL back in the fall of 2006 I had the pleasure of having lunch with Sphere CEO and founder Tony Conrad as he was visiting to start working with the AOL. Since then, Sphere which I covered previously when it launched in May 2006, worked with both AOL News and myAOL Mgnet Recommendations to offer related content recommendations. It is a pleasure to see that AOL has finally acquired Sphere for an undisclosed amount.

Sphere launched as a blog search engine competing in a space which at the time did not include Google blog search and was dominated by mainly Technorati. Blog search became less in the forefront as Google added blog search to its offering. Sphere saw this and made moves to adapt its business to meet market needs by turning to offering solid related content recommendations in the form of the sphere widget. You probably have seen Sphere’s icon around the Web on some of the most prominent blogs and mainstream news sites including SOMEWHAT FRANK. I applaud the team for seeing the market landscape and adapting to survive and ultimately exit.

Fellow Chicago Cubs fan and Sphere CEO, Tony Sphere had this to say of the acquisition:

“We are delighted to be joining AOL. AOL’s vast properties and platforms offer us the opportunity to reach publishing and news environments across the Web.”

Congrats to the Sphere team of Tony Conrad, Martin Remy, Steve Nieker and Toni Schneider and welcome to AOL. Om Malik and Michael Arrington also offer some additional perspective on AOL’s most recent startup acquisition.

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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